The death of a husband often marks a profoundly difficult time in a wife's life. According to psychologist Irene S. Levine, more than 50 percent of widows suffer from major depression after the loss of their husbands. That said, there are ways to move beyond your grief, bring on healing and improve your quality of life after this traumatic event.
Get Help and Reach Out
If you're having trouble coping with the loss of your spouse it's a good idea to see a mental health professional. Depending on how dependent you were with your partner, your grief might be especially difficult to overcome. A therapist will provide you with the support you need and deserve, help you feel better about your life, and help map out your future. Even if you're not suffering from overwhelming grief, a therapist can still help you to pinpoint exactly how you want to reinvent yourself and the best way to get there.
Now is the time to reach out. Re-establish connections with the people in your life such as family, neighbors, friends, and members of your church. You might also find it beneficial to join a support group for widows--this will allow you to meet people who share your experience and let you make new friends.
Dating after the death of a beloved spouse can be filled with anxiety. You still love your late husband and feel torn between your commitment to him and your feelings for the new person in your life. Aaron Ben-Zeév, a researcher who studies theoretical issues concerning emotions, says it's not a matter of letting go of your former spouse, but finding an equilibrium between holding on and letting go. Just remember that your deceased husband now can do no wrong while you may be facing problems with your new partner. Allow the new relationship to grow in its own way, and remember that this love will likely be different from the love you shared with your former spouse.
When you're married, your identity often comes through your long-term relationship and the social interactions that form around it. A widow needs to re-think her identity. The first important step is not to let fear hold you back--try new things whenever possible and push the boundaries of your comfort level, even if it's as simple as going to a different cafe for a cup of joe. This opportunity will open doors to allow for positive change and affirm your new identity.